If you’re like most working adults, chances are you’re shortchanging yourself on your annual leave.
The Independent recently reported that in a study of 2000 employed Brits, 1 in 3 failed to claim their full annual leave in 2020 with the main reasons being:
- work piling up when they’re away (20%)
- being too busy (15%)
- worrying about what will happen when they’re away (13%)
Undoubtedly Covid-19 influenced people’s thinking with a whopping 48% considering it ‘pointless’ to take annual leave as Covid restrictions meant they couldn’t go abroad.
At The Thrive Team we know how important it is to take your annual leave entitlement. Taking a break from work increases productivity and prevents burnout so we are definitely not advocating ditching your annual leave entitlement, it’s there for a reason.
And while there’s no substitute for a proper break from work, if you can’t take all your leave, of if you’re part of the gig economy who don’t have annual leave benefits, you can make the time in between your getaways more pleasant and satisfying. Try these ideas for taking mini breaks at work and away from the office.
Taking Mini Breaks at Work:
- Vary your tasks. Take a fresh look at your job. Find ways to spend more time on the responsibilities that help you to achieve a state of flow. Maybe you can delegate some responsibilities (perhaps a development opportunity for others?) or at least alternate between them to break up any monotony.
- (Re)decorate your work area. A change of scenery can brighten your mood. Bring nature to your work area with an easy to care for plant.
- Stretch out. Stand up, and do some simple exercises about every half hour. Bend forward and reach for your toes. Raise your arms over your head and lower them down slowly to each side with your palms facing forward.
- Walk around. Ask your colleagues if they’d be interested in scheduling a walking meeting (virtually, or in person). They may like the idea of going outside for a little fresh air and exercise while you discuss business matters.
- Develop your career. Taking control of your future could help you to access more annual leave and reach other work-related goals. Assess your skills and target areas where you want to grow.
Taking Mini Breaks Away From Work:
- Shift your focus. Do you find yourself thinking about the office even when you’re at home? Make a deliberate effort to disengage. Create rituals that help you to put work behind you, like going to the gym or taking your dog for a walk when you arrive home.
- Turn off your phone. If possible, avoid taking calls or checking emails related to work. Talk with your team about how to balance after-hour emergencies with your need for personal space.
- Work on your hobby. Studies show that active leisure is more refreshing than watching TV. Pursue your interests, expand your mind.
- Connect with others. Honor your own needs for solitude and social time. When you’re with your friends and family, use your time together to validate and support each other.
- Explore future destinations. Research shows that planning a trip can be almost as beneficial as the actual trip. Give yourself something to look forward to and build anticipation by learning to cook some local dishes, taste some wine from the region or start to learn the language so you can make yourself understood on your trip.
- Plan your day. Schedule breaks each day instead of waiting for things to slow down. Your mind and body need ongoing rest.
- Give generously. Thinking about others makes us feel less burdened. Do something to make your colleagues or a stranger smile.
- Consider your purpose. Any task is more bearable when you remember the reasons behind it. Ask yourself what you like about your work.
Protect your career and take care of your health by giving yourself enough downtime to refresh and recharge. When taking annual leave is out of the question, treat yourself to some rest and relaxation wherever you find yourself.